Creed 3 Reviews: Critics Share Strong Reactions to Sequel

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Creed 3 Michael B Jordan

The first reactions to Michael B. Jordan's Creed 3 have been incredibly strong, with many praising the "scene stealer" Jonathan Majors' performance as lead antagonist Damian.

The Rocky spin-off franchise Creed will soon be back for a third go-around after two hit flicks starring Jordan as champion boxer Adonis Creed. Currently, 2015's Creed stands at an astonishing 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, dropping, but still standing tall, with 83% for Creed 2.

Although the third bout in the franchise will be going in with some risks, and not just because this will be the directorial debut for Michael B. Jordan. This will also be the first Rocky or Creed movie not to feature Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa, a decision that has proven controversial with fans.

Creed 3 Wins Big in Early Reviews

Creed 3, Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors

After the first press screenings for Creed 3 took place ahead of the March 3 release, critics shared overwhelmingly positive reactions.

Kristian Harloff praised the movie as an "intense emotional journey," noting how there were a "few times" he questioned the absence of Sylvester Stallone's Rocky but insists "it never took away from the story:"

"Creed 3 is an intense emotional journey. Great directorial debut by Michael B Jordan, coupled by amazing performances by both Thompson and the scene stealer Jonathan Majors. Fight scenes are awesome. Few times I was wondering where Rocky was but it never took away from the story."

Next Best Picture's Matt Neglia added that Michael B. Jordan does an "admirable job directing" Creed 3 in his directorial debut, pointing out how this also ranks "among his best" performances yet:

"Michael B. Jordan, in his directorial debut, does an admirable job directing CREED 3. His performance though ranks among his best & the IMAX-shot boxing scenes are distinctively awesome. Jonathan Majors brings raw power & charisma to a personal story of two friends turned enemies."

The Root's Shanelle Genai called the threequel "by far the best" in the Creed franchise, calling Jonathan Majors a "frightening/formidable foe:"

"Bay-BEE #Creed3 I've been a fan of the Creed franchise since day one & it is by far the BEST ONE Michael B. Jordan DID THE DAMN THING as director. Jonathan Majors is a frightening/formidable foe BUT this film proved AGAIN that my loyalty will forever lie w/Adonis Creed."

The FathersWhoBother podcast's JL Barrow revealed he "got a heart rate alert from [his] Apple Watch while watching Creed 3," noting how it includes "everything [he] loved" about the first movie:

"I got a heart rate alert from my Apple Watch while watching Creed 3. I kid you not. MBJ took everything I loved about the first Creed-the heart, the family, the fights-and added his own style. Jonathan Majors is perfectly menacing as Damien. I can’t wait to watch it again."

TotalFilm's Matt Maytum called Majors' Damian "easily the most interesting opponent Adonis has faced:"

"Creed III is great! Benefits from Jonathan Majors’ antagonist - easily the most interesting opponent Adonis has faced. Michael B. Jordan is an assured hand behind the camera and still charismatic as hell in front of it. Tessa Thompson remains v valuable to the series #CreedIII"

Matt Ramos, better known as Supes, praised Majors, adding that "you will not know who to cheer for" and that "this surpassed all [his] expectations:"

"#Creed3 is THE BEST movie in the trilogy. This film is brilliantly written & Jonathan Majors has stolen another movie that doesn’t belong to him. You will not know who to cheer for. What a fantastic directorial debut for @michaelb4jordan. This surpassed all my expectations."

The viral TikToker also touched on the boxing fights, saying that some are "shot like anime," while listing the cinematography and sound design as particular highlights:


Why Creed 3's Success is So Important

On the run-up to Creed 3, Michael B. Jordan has shared his aspirations to "expand the Creed-verse" with a fourth movie and spin-offs. Development is even already underway on a Drago spin-off movie to explore the backstory of Rocky 4 and Creed 2's Ivan Drago and his son Viktor.

With Creed 3 opening to great acclaim and featuring Jonathan Majors within just weeks of his debut as the MCU's Kang, the threequel appears set to become a box-office hit. That ought to only further Jordan's case of expanding the franchise and developing more sequels with his character.

Jordan received particular admiration for his directing on Creed 3, which bodes well for his career behind the camera in terms of earning more opportunities going forward. After all, tackling the ninth movie in a long-running franchise and having it be called one of the best is no small feat for a newcomer director.

Jonathan Majors has already been praised by critics in the last month alone for his performances as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and as bodybuilder Killian Maddox in Magazine Dreams. Now, the insane reactions to his role as Damian in Creed 3 mean Majors has gone three-for-three as of late. 

So, the question on many movie buffs' minds throughout this year will be how the actor will fare once the next awards season rolls around. Of course, MCU stars seldom receive nominations for those movies, but Creed 3 and Magazine Dreams could give Majors a very real shot at Oscar glory.

Creed 3 hits theaters on Friday, March 3.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.